Sabrina York is a new-to-me author and having finished Hannah and the Highlander I can honestly say that I will be back for more from York. Hannah and the Highlander was an adorably sweet read featuring a horribly smitten manly-man who didn’t think he was quite the catch that his heroine deserved. Who doesn’t love a smitten hero?
Hannah is the eldest of three sisters and she’s almost considered on-the-shelf. Her father is urging her to accept one of her suitors, only Hannah is looking for a husband that values her for more than the significant dowry that she possesses. When Alexander Lochlannach, Laird of Dunnet, rescues Hannah from an attack he’s a goner, and he can only hope that Hannah accepts his suit after turning away all others before him. While Hannah doesn’t quite believe that this hot guy wants to marry her she is spurred into accepting. It’s after marrying that Alexander and Hannah really have to figure out what to do with each other – miscommunication ensues!
Highlander romances are not generally my thing (give me a ballroom any day) but nostalgia gripped me as I’m quite certain my first romance read as a teenager was a highlander romance by Julie Garwood. York succeeds in giving readers a more modern romance without forgoing historical sensibilities. Yeah, Hannah and Alexander marry after barely speaking, but what happens after is what really shines. The respect and equal partnership that is emphasized and it’s that element that makes this a more modern and more enjoyable romance (old-school is not my thing when it comes to the romance genre).
The big conflict in Hannah and the Highlander is the lack of communication in Hannah and Alexander’s relationship, a fact that is not helped by the hero’s self-conscious awareness of his stutter. Fearing the loss of his bride’s respect, the hero is more likely to bark commands and write letters rather than speak. The fact that communication is what drives this romance makes this a romance that is mainly focused on its characters. While there is a sub-plot with the land Clearances that the Scots are being compelled to enforce, the relationship between Alexander and Hannah is what propels this book forward. The author does a really, really good job at developing and exploring how their relationship grows. Alexander and Hannah go from virtual strangers to equal partners, and it’s this kind of character/relationship development that always keeps me coming back to the romance genre. For me, it’s all about the characters, and Hannah and the Highlander doesn’t disappoint.
Hannah and the Highlander will appeal to those who enjoy a good Highlander romance as well as those who appreciate a strong character-driven plot. There are manly men and strong women. There’s also humour, tenderness and historical fact. Kind of sounds like a no brainer, right?
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
It was interesting that York gives her hero a real vulnerability with his stutter; it’s not often that you see insecure heroes, and I think this aspect went a long way for making Hannah and the Highlander an endearing read for me. For another hero that also has a stutter, which also causes some troubles on the road to happily-ever-after, try Julia Quinn’s The Duke and I.
While I didn’t find When a Scot Ties the Knot to be overtly “highlander-ry”, it does have a man in a kilt and he’s awesome. There’s also a bookish spinster who’s thrown for a loop when this brawny man shows up claiming to be her husband. See my full review to see why this is a highly recommended read.
For a more traditional (and old-school) highlander romance, try Julie Garwood’s Ransom. This is also a good choice if you like your romance balanced out with historical details.